Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 995 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
I presume that is what they are designed to be. There are issues that make it very difficult, but there were also issues that made it very difficult with guns. People said, "How do you decide; where do you determine; and how do you draw the line between one gun and another?". We did it, and we managed. We have improved the safety of society because of that. In this case, I am prepared to support Mr Rugendyke's legislation because I believe, on a cost-benefit analysis, that this will bring more benefits than the downside.
MR HARGREAVES (12.01 am): I rise to speak to this motion, largely because I also was accused somewhat in the last debate of having made undertakings during the election campaign, and I would like to take the opportunity of clearing it for the record because the undertaking I made with respect to move-on powers was the same as the undertaking on knives. That undertaking was that I supported both of the two positions in principle - and I do - and I do not resile from that. But I put a proviso on it, and that was that there needed to be some sort of overt expression of protection of the civil liberties of those people who were caught up by this sort of legislation when they ought not to have been so caught up. That is my dilemma with the legislation that Mr Rugendyke has introduced, and I have actually expressed this to him before.
I support most strongly - and I cannot underscore how strongly - anything that we can do to change this culture that it is a smart thing to carry a knife around. In fact, what we have is groups of kids in all parts of this town who are now carrying knives of exotic types as a fashion accessory. What happens is that you get some smart alec in the group; and, next thing you know, there is a fight on, out the knife comes and there are all sorts of trouble. Finding out what knife ought not to be permissible and what ought to be permissible is a difficult question also. Superintendent Castle informed me that a girl was stabbed and killed by a Swiss army knife with a very short blade. That means that Mr Moore's favourite toy is, in fact, a lethal weapon in the hands of someone else. We have an interpretation problem. I agree with Mr Moore. In fact, I would rather go down harder on this than softer on this.
I want to congratulate Mr Rugendyke on bringing this legislation forward. If we can kill this culture off by drawing attention to this, we will need to give the police the power to do something about it. But again I stress my reservations about the civil liberties bit, about the arbitrary power of search. I am not sure about it; I am not comfortable with it; and, until we can come up with some regime that we can be comfortable with, I cannot support that part. My preferred approach to this would have been to put forward the legislation without that power in it but to have referred it to a committee - the Justice and Community Safety Committee would have been fine; anybody, for all I care, on that one - to examine how we could come up with an answer to that vexing question. But, as I say, I fully support and very strongly support the legislation, without that clause in it.